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Look Inside Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire

Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire
The Design of Difference


Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: October 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107411456

£ 32.99

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About the Authors
  • Madeline C. Zilfi's book examines gender politics through slavery and social regulation in the Ottoman Empire. In a challenge to prevailing notions, her research shows that throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries female slavery was not only central to Ottoman practice, but a critical component of imperial governance and elite social reproduction. As Zilfi illustrates through her graphic accounts of the humiliations and sufferings endured by these women at the hands of their owners, Ottoman slavery was often as cruel as its Western counterpart. The book focuses on the experience of slavery in the Ottoman capital of Istanbul, also using comparative data from Egypt and North Africa to illustrate the regional diversity and local dynamics that were the hallmarks of slavery in the Middle East during the early modern era. This is an articulate and informed account that sets more general debates on women and slavery in the Ottoman context.

    • Contains a detailed chronology of Ottoman historical benchmarks and world abolition history to enhance readers' understanding of Ottoman and Middle Eastern events in a world context
    • Illustrations are provided which broaden the reader's understanding of the subject
    • Uses comparative data from Egypt and North Africa to draw attention to regional diversity
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Madeline Zilfi's book examines gender politics through slavery and social regulation in the Ottoman Empire. Her research shows that, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, female slavery was not only central to Ottoman practice but also a critical component of imperial governance and elite social reproduction.' The Middle East

    Review of the hardback: '… all specialized libraries and historians of the Ottoman Empire, and those working in Enslavement Studies should definitely own it; and the author should be commended on her accomplished and valuable work.' Insight Turkey

    'Zilfi's masterful new work creates space for debate on the topic of women, slavery and the gender hierarchy in the late Ottoman Empire … This contribution will undoubtedly shape the nature of research into slavery in the Ottoman Empire, and represents a major work in the burgeoning field of Ottoman slavery studies. Furthermore, to its great credit, this book contains an excellent bibliography which gathers the secondary studies on slavery in the Middle East and its immediate geographical proximity as well as the relevant methodological literature. It will be a boon for future scholars of slavery in the Ottoman Empire.' Nur Sobers-Khan, New Middle Eastern Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107411456
    • length: 302 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    1. Empire and imperium
    2. Currents of change
    3. Women and the regulated society
    4. Telling the Ottoman slave story
    5. Meaning and practice
    6. Feminizing slavery
    7. Men are kanun, women are shari'ah.

  • Author

    Madeline Zilfi, University of Maryland, College Park

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